Video of Trilby Jeeves reading the 2009 World Theatre Day message

At the Backroom Theatre Club in New Westminster, British Columbia, for World Theatre Day, we had a nice gathering of local people to listen to new writings by Dane McFadhen, Elizabeth Elwood, & Jemma Downes; to a staged reading of a scene from Talley’s Folly with Dan Weber, & Trilby Jeeves; to two wonderful stories of nature by poet Ariadne Sawyer (World Poet Society) and First Nations storyteller, Godwin Barton. Thanks to the organizers, Jemma Downes, Heidi Mueller, and Paul at The Heritage Grill who hosted the event.

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Celebrating the Arts

Well, it’s official! It’s here… Happy World Theatre Day! How wonderful that we have a day that we can pronounce proudly to all and celebrate in the name of the arts.

Thursday was a World Theatre Day preview in my world with my morning class of Bouffons honouring the World Theatre Day International Speech by Augusto Boal (see post), in their bouffon way.

World Theatre Day Bouffons!
World Theatre Day Bouffons!
Bouffon reading thee speech!
Bouffon reading thee speech!

Thursday evening consisted of an intimate gathering of people at The Heritage Grill BackRoom Theatre Club for story telling, legend reading, scene reading, and of course the International Speech, which I was lucky to read to the group. The response to Augusto Boal’s words was full & spontaneous. “Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!”

My secret pleasure also last night was reading with my favourite thespian, Dan Weber, a scene from Talley’s Folly by Landford Wilson. This was the first play I had ever performed in my life so my nostalgia was flared up – in a good way! We had fun!

Trilby & Dan reading Talley's Folly
Trilby & Dan reading Talley's Folly

My new blog is not just a “theatre blog” unlike some of the esteemed people in my online circle, so I would like to acknowledge those who might feel “theatre” is not for them. Well, as Augusto Boal has stated in his speech, “All human societies are “spectacular” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments.” To you, the one who may not consider your life theatrical… you are!

Have a great day, and keep an eye out for those diamond moments today in your life that carry their own little performance and setting. Enjoy!

(and don’t forget to peek at some other theatrical adventures around the world on the World Theatre Day Blog )



A World Theatre Day Dedication

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Today, March 23rd, begins a full theatre week in Vancouver, Canada, culminating with World Theatre Day Celebrations of all sorts on Friday, March 27. This year is becoming truly global as the Internet is enabling many theatre people to connect, and mutually plan & share.  To learn more  please visit the global blog: http://www.worldtheatreday.org and  The Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance online: http://www.gvpta.ca .

Today also marks a day that I would like to acknowledge – the final farewell to Natasha Richardson.

Ms. Richardson was part of the most incredible thespian families stemming from Sir Michael Redgrave & his wife Rachel Kempson, to their offspring, Vanessa Redgrave, the mother of Natasha Richardson, Lynn Redgrave, and Corin Redgrave. The line continues into the grandchildren. Natasha Richardson was also the wife of Liam Neeson who we know as a stellar actor, the mother of Michael and Daniel, and the sister of Joely Richardson.

I have the incredible pleasure to have worked with Lynn Redgrave in Canada, and pass time with her as a friend in New York. At that time I also had the pleasure to meet more members of her family, and also Liam Neeson. It is because of that special time I feel the need and desire to honour their loss, and express my condolences.

I would like to dedicate, in my humble manner, World Theatre Day to both sides of the family. May you find peace.

The 2009 World Theatre Day International Message by Augusto Boal

All human societies are “spectacular*” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments. They are “spectacular” as a form of social organization and produce “spectacles” like the one you have come to see.

Even if one is unaware of it, human relationships are structured in a theatrical way. The use of space, body language, choice of words and voice modulation, the confrontation of ideas and passions, everything that we demonstrate on the stage, we live in our lives. We are theatre!

Weddings and funerals are “spectacles”, but so, also, are daily rituals so familiar that we are not conscious of this. Occasions of pomp and circumstance, but also the morning coffee, the exchanged good-mornings, timid love and storms of passion, a senate session or a diplomatic meeting–all is theatre.

One of the main functions of our art is to make people sensitive to the “spectacles” of daily life in which the actors are their own spectators, performances in which the stage and the stalls coincide. We are all artists. By doing theatre, we learn to see what is obvious but what we usually can’t see because we are only used to looking at it. What is familiar to us becomes unseen: doing theatre throws light on the stage of daily life.

Last September, we were surprised by a theatrical revelation: we, who thought that we were living in a safe world, despite wars, genocide, slaughter and torture which certainly exist, but far from us in remote and wild places. We, who were living in security with our money invested in some respectable bank or in some honest trader’s hands in the stock exchange were told that this money did not exist, that it was virtual, a fictitious invention by some economists who were not fictitious at all and neither reliable nor respectable. Everything was just bad theatre, a dark plot in which a few people won a lot and many people lost all. Some politicians from rich countries held secret meetings in which they found some magic solutions. And we, the victims of their decisions, have remained spectators in the last row of the balcony.  Twenty years ago, I staged Racine’s Phèdre in Rio de Janeiro. The stage setting was poor: cow skins on the ground, bamboos around. Before each presentation, I used to say to my actors: “The fiction we created day by day is over. When you cross those bamboos, none of you will have the right to lie. Theatre is the Hidden Truth.”When we look beyond appearances, we see oppressors and oppressed people, in all societies, ethnic groups, genders, social classes and casts; we see an unfair and cruel world. We have to create another world because we know it is possible. But it is up to us to build this other world with our hands and by acting on the stage and in our own life.Participate in the “spectacle” which is about to begin and once you are back home, with your friends act your own plays and look at what you were never able to see: that which is obvious. Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.

Augusto Boal